Microsoft Corp. announced the next generation of Windows Live, an integrated set of online services that make it easier and more fun for consumers to communicate and share with the people they care about most.
The new generation of Windows Live includes updated experiences for photo sharing, e-mail, instant messaging, as well as integration with multiple third-party sites. The release also includes Windows Live Essentials, free downloadable software that enhances consumers’ Windows experience by helping them simplify and enjoy digital content scattered across their PC, phone and on Web sites.
To provide more flexibility to users, Microsoft is collaborating with leading companies including Flickr, LinkedIn Corp., Pandora Media Inc., Photobucket Inc., Twitter, WordPress and Yelp Inc. to integrate activities on third-party sites into Windows Live through a new profile and What’s New feed. The new Windows Live also provides a central place to organize and manage information.
Highlights include these:
• Windows Live is making new social features available to all customers, including an updated profile, a “what’s new” feed of activities across the network and Web, photo sharing, and on-the-go access from virtually any device with Windows Live SkyDrive. Online storage is increasing from 5 GB to 25 GB.
• Windows Live Messenger, the No. 1 instant messaging service worldwide with more than 330 million active customers, now includes more personalization, a “what’s new” feed with updates from contacts across the Web, drag-and-drop photo sharing in the conversation window, a favorites list to designate the most important contacts, and group IM to chat simultaneously with up to 20 people at the same time.
• Windows Live Hotmail, one of the largest e-mail services worldwide with more than 375 million active customers, is getting a significant upgrade. It is now much faster and has 80 percent more effective spam filtering compared with previous versions of Hotmail. Upcoming changes include the ability to bring multiple e-mail accounts together, the ability to put multiple e-mail addresses onto almost any device, increased storage, and a revamped calendar that makes it easier to share calendars with others, subscribe to multiple calendars and use your calendar with Microsoft Outlook.
• Windows Live Groups, a place for groups to collaborate online, includes a shared calendar, shared storage, a shared e-mail address, and shared instant messaging.
All of these services work with Windows Live Essentials, a suite of applications for communication and sharing that also works with leading e-mail, photo and blogging services worldwide.
This next generation of Windows Live will begin rolling out to customers in the U.S. over the coming weeks and will be made available globally in 54 countries and in 48 languages by early 2009.
More details is available here.